Sunday, January 23, 2005

Republicans vs. the Constitution: Ollie North's wet dream is Rummy's Secret Army 

Remember how, during Iran Contra, Ollie North wanted an "off the shelf" covert operations capability that was exempt from Congressional oversight? (Federation of American Scientists)

Well, as part of Bush's dirty war against 1.5 billion Muslims (back) Rummy's going to get the Secret Army that Ollie always wanted. Sweet! They call it "Strategic Support Branch." Sounds like some sort of high-tech jock strap....

Anyhow, Barton Gellman at WaPo does some actual reporting on the Strategic Support Branch:

The Pentagon, expanding into the CIA's historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad,
(via WaPo)

Hmmm... Where did we recently hear the doctrine that the Executive—let's reserve the word "President" for officials who actually govern lawfully—could rule by decree by interpreting the law as desired? Why, from Albert Gonzales! (back) Gee, the dots are starting to look awfully connected. It's like these guys are all in it together, or something, isn't it?

Naturally, we didn't hear a peep about Rummy's Secret Army during the election, even though it's been operating for two years:

Military and civilian participants said in interviews that the new unit has been operating in secret for two years -- in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places they declined to name [Iran, of course; North Korea? China?!]

And lest you think this is "only" about intelligence, No. Rummy wants operations, too:

Perhaps the most significant shift is the Defense Department's bid to conduct surreptitious missions, in friendly and unfriendly states, when conventional war is a distant or unlikely prospect -- activities that have traditionally been the province of the CIA's Directorate of Operations.

Sheesh. Wonder how much it Rummy's Secret Army costs and how big it is? Oh, wait. I'm just a citizen. That is not for such as me to know. Sorry, I'll go shopping now.

Naturally, the whole thing was set up by taking money Congress appropriated for one purpose, spending it on another, and not telling Congress (just like the $700 million Bush "reallocated" from Afghanistan to Whack, eh?)

Pentagon officials said they established the Strategic Support Branch using "reprogrammed" funds, without explicit congressional authority or appropriation.

We pause here to note Article I section 9 of the United States Constitution:

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
(via FindLaw

Oh well....

And naturally, Rummy expects to run his Secret Army without Congressional oversight, forever:

Pentagon officials emphasized their intention to remain accountable to Congress...


...but they also asserted that defense intelligence missions are subject to fewer legal constraints than Rumsfeld's predecessors believed. That assertion involves new interpretations of Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which governs the armed services, and Title 50, which governs, among other things, foreign intelligence.

There they go again! Thinking they're the judicial branch, as well as the executive branch! (Madison's definition of tyranny (back)

Under Title 10, for example, the Defense Department must report to Congress all "deployment orders," or formal instructions from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to position U.S. forces for combat. But guidelines issued this month by Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone state that special operations forces may "conduct clandestine HUMINT operations . . . before publication" of a deployment order, rendering notification unnecessary. Pentagon lawyers also define the "war on terror" as ongoing, indefinite and global in scope. That analysis effectively discards the limitation of the defense secretary's war powers to times and places of imminent combat.

So, there you have it, folks! Rummy has a Secret Army, created by "reinterpreting" US law, exempt from Congressional oversight, paid for with money off the books, and operating ... forever. So much for our form of Constitutional Government. Will the last person to leave shut down the voting machines?

But not to worry. Rummy's Secret Army will obviously be formed from the best of the best—top leadership, top individual contributors; the creme de la creme.



Let's look at the leadership:

Col. George Waldroup, an Army reserve officer who commands the Defense Intelligence Agency's Strategic Support Branch, is described by associates as a colorful Texan who refers to himself in the third person, as "GW."L

That's a troubling symptom... In fact, Waldroup sounds a just little like Bernard Kerik, of blessed memory, doesn't he? But wait—let's look at Waldroup's qualifications; what could they be?

Waldroup spent most of his working life as a midlevel manager at the INS, where he became embroiled in accusations that he participated in deceiving a congressional delegation about staffing problems at Miami International Airport in June 1995. The Justice Department inspector general's office, which concluded its probe the following year, quoted in its report sworn statements from subordinates that Waldroup, then assistant district director for external affairs, helped orchestrate a temporary doubling of immigration screeners on the day of the visit, instructed subordinates not to discuss staff shortages and physically confronted a union leader to prevent him from reaching members of Congress. Waldroup told the investigators that he was following an order from a superior in Washington to withhold information.

During the investigation, according to the inspector general's final report, Waldroup refused to disclose the password to his e-mail files, refused to sign an affidavit summarizing his testimony and, in a subsequent interview, "stated that he would not answer any questions" because "he wished to protect himself from exposure to criminal sanctions." The authors of the Justice Department report found insufficient evidence to file charges but said they were troubled by "recurrent failures to provide documents."
(via WaPo

OK! Creating Potemkin villages for Congress, union busting, failure to provide documents... I'd say that qualifies him! He'll fit right in!

Now let's look at the troops. Surely there's still some hope that Rummy's Secret Army won't be a complete, um, clusterfuck? (The military's precise technical term, back)


Internal Pentagon briefings describe Strategic Support Branch members as experienced intelligence professionals with specialized skills, "military operations backgrounds," and the training to "function in all environments under adverse conditions." But four special operations soldiers who provided information for this article, directly or through intermediaries, said those assigned to work with them included out-of-shape men in their fifties...

Those would be the old Republican operatives from the CPA...

and recent college graduates on their first assignments.

And those would be either the young Republican operatives from the CPA (remember the backpackers from the American Enterprise Institute) or new graduates from a "Christian" madrassa (like Patrick Henry [cough] college, parachuted into the unit by Rummy's deputy, winger loon Jerry "Allah is Satan" Boykin (back).

"They arrived with shiny black kneepads...

I'm not making this up!

...and elbow pads...

Honest, I'm not!

... and shiny black helmets," said one special forces officer who served with Waldroup's men in Iraq. "They brought M-4 rifles with all the accoutrements, scopes and high-end [satellite equipment] they didn't know how to use." An older member of Waldroup's staff "became an anchor because of his physical conditioning and his lack of knowledge of our tactics, techniques and procedures. The guy actually put us in danger."

Another special forces officer, who served with the augmentation team members in Afghanistan, said some of the intelligence officers deployed with his unit were reluctant to leave their base and spoke only to local residents who ventured inside.

Yep, CPA guys—just like the Green Zone. They must think they know how to win a war!

So, we're trashing the Constitution, and all for a black ops unit that's led by Yet Another Narcissistic Sociopath and staffed with the same clueless winger operatives who brought us Iraq. Blowback, anyone?

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?